This is my little contribution to the Hitchcock Blog-a-Thon in an effort to raise money for the National Film Preservation Foundation’s efforts to score and stream The White Shadow. Please click the button to donate a few dollars towards a worthy cause. And of course, please browse the many other entries in this blog-a-thon. The quality of the contributions is staggering and the real fine minds of film should be appreciated by all. You can find the other entries here, here, and here.
September 23, 2011
Caution: Spoilers Abound
Reading snippets of interviews and press releases for Drive, I found a number of references by star Ryan Gosling and director Nicolas Winding Refn to John Hughes, specifically Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles. These were perplexing remarks knowing what little I did about the film, but as I watched the film, I slowly found them quite instructive. Perhaps not for the reasons they intended, I’ll admit, but instructive all the same. Trying to analyze the similarities in a straightforward way, I couldn’t find any connection beyond a simple love story and romantic synth-pop heavy soundtrack, but even those elements weren’t terribly Hughes-like in any specific way. It dawned on me, however, during certain sequences between Ryan Gosling’s Driver (as is so often with characters of this type, he’s never given a name) and Carey Mulligan’s Irene, the next-door neighbour with whom he makes a connection. It was the feeling of these scenes that reminded me of Hughes. Not in a direct way, mind, but in the way that I watched Hughes’ movies as an adolescent, all filled with a simplistic, romantic notion that came about through a combination of my total lack of understanding of how real relationships might function and beautiful, heart-on-its-sleeve emotional synthpop. Therein lays, I think, the key to coming to understanding not only the Driver, but also the larger perspective of the film as a whole.
March 18, 2009
Seven weeks into its US run, Taken is still holding strong in the box office top five. It has seen less than a 10% drop from week to week for most of that time, which you’ll know is very unusual if you keep up with box office trends (as I’m sure you all do). At close to $127 million in domestic grosses, it is the second-highest grossing film of the year so far (and it’s outpacing the highest grossing, Paul Blart: Mall Cop). Now it most definitely won’t stay that way, and it’s true that this time of year is generally thin on big releases, but it still says something about the cultural draw of the film. Made for around $40 million, this is a huge coup for a moderately budgeted film starring an unlikely action hero. I really shouldn’t play the armchair culture pundit, asking the questions about why this film seems to resonate so well in America and what that says about the country as a whole, but I can’t help myself. I’m probably over-thinking a mindless movie, but after watching it, questions were raised.